Kermit Moyer

The New York Times Book Review called Kermit Moyer’s collection of stories, Tumbling, "impeccable", “a work of ringing authenticity” and welcomed him as “an impressive new voice.” Now, in The Chester Chronicles, Moyer again explores the rocky terrain of childhood and adolescence but this time from a single window: the perspective of Chester “Chet” Patterson, an “Army brat” who grows up in the 1950s and comes of age in the 1960s. Chester’s point of view is retrospective, but the immediacy of his present-tense narration puts us right there in the moment—even though “there” is constantly changing since Chester is always in transit, the perennial outsider, stuck with a name that feels like a running joke and plagued with Oedipal anxieties and existential doubt yet nonetheless convinced of his heroic destiny. Each chapter is a discrete story that chronicles a pivotal moment in Chester’s life, taking him a little deeper into himself as well as a little farther into the century,

Like Chester, Kermit Moyer grew up an Army brat in the 1950s. He got his BA, his MA and his PhD in English from Northwestern University and in 1970 joined the faculty of American University in Washington, DC, where he taught literature and creative writing for the next 37 years. His short fiction has appeared in The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, and The Hudson Review, and he is the author of Tumbling, a collection of stories published by the University of Illinois Press. He lives with his wife Amy and their dog Zora on Cape Cod.

Tumbling Review:
NY Times Book Review

Winner of the 2011 L.L. Winship PEN New England Fiction Award

AWARD CITATION by By Alan Davis, Fiction Judge for the 2011 PEN New England award:
Chester Patterson, the narrator of The Chester Chronicles by Kermit Moyer, a wonderfully lyrical novel-in-stories set in the 1950s and 1960s, is the son of an Army officer whose duty requires the family to move every two or three years. Chester’s sexual, racial, political and intellectual awakening as he comes of age in a tumultuous era can be humorous, awkward, abrasive, erotic, or even inspirational, but it is always brilliantly rendered and deliciously ironic; Chester’s attempts at heroics or a bon vivant sophistication almost always fail him, to the reader’s great delight. Chester and his family stay in our heads; the book is a triumph of exact detail, and Moyer is a writer to conjure with.

The Chester Chronicles
Available from your local Independent Booksellers,
The Permanent Press &

Praise for Kermit Moyer’s
The Chester Chronicles

Kermit Moyer is one of America’s undiscovered treasures. I find myself periodically imagining a parallel world that’s exactly like this one, except that in the other world, Moyer occupies his proper place in the literary universe. I can only hope that with the publication of The Chester Chronicles that world is on its way. --Michael Cunningham

An eloquent, stylish novel-in-stories, 16 tales narrated by Chester Patterson, an "Army brat," who highlights his life from his sixth-grade crush in 1954 through the mid-1960s, when he's "officially an adult," and finally, his father's interment at Arlington National Cemetery. This evocative coming-of-age cycle brings to mind the stories of Lorrie Moore.
--Publishers Weekly

The Chester Chronicles is both heartbreaking and funny. Kermit Moyer has absolute perfect pitch when it comes to Chester’s voice and the times in which he lives.
--Alice McDermott

The brief chapters in this exquisitely written first novel also work as stand-alone stories, perfectly evoking the particulars of the late 1950s-early 1960s era and the universal emotions of childhood and adolescence. Chester "Chet" Patterson is the perennial new kid in town. Written from the perspective of an adult but employing a present-tense narration, the novel so honestly exposes pivotal moments during Chet's life that readers are almost made to feel like voyeurs. With a beautifully spare style, Moyer displays an unerring feel for those moments that distill both the pathos and the comedy of growing up.

Kermit Moyer is a master craftsman, each story in this volume is exactingly wrought and righteously rendered. His Chester is you and you and you, all of us dizzied by the dreams and disappointments unique to lived life. Me, I am just keen to see this moving collection reach as many folks as have eyes.
--Lee K. Abbott

This astonishing collection of linked stories--each so attentive, precise, evocative, and moving—is at once triumphant and elegiac, recalling the psychological depth of Richard Yates and the imagistic brilliance of James Agee.
--Richard McCann

Funny, passionate and absolutely riveting, The Chester Chronicles is the kind of book I wish were a place so that I could visit it often and find something new each time.
--Carolyn Parkhurst

Upcoming Events, Reviews and Blogs: